At least 17 troops have died of heat exposure during training exercises at US military bases since 2008, per the Pentagon.
They include an 18-year-old cadet, a 21-year-old on his first day of training, and a fit Marine who died after a 6-mile hike.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/military-s-climate-change-problem-blistering-heat-killing-soldiers-during-n1032546 … (1/8)
In 2008, 1,766 cases of heatstroke or heat exhaustion were diagnosed among active-duty service members, according to military data.
By 2018, that figure had climbed to 2,792, an increase of almost 60% over the decade. https://nbcnews.to/2Yc2RIb (2/8)
An @NBCNews and @InsideClimate investigation found that despite acknowledging the risks of climate change, the military continues to wrestle with finding a sustainable, comprehensive strategy for how to train in sweltering conditions.
The military’s reports, often heavily redacted, show evidence of disregard for heat safety rules that led to the deaths.
The reports document a poor level of awareness of the dangers of heat illness and the decisions of commanders who pushed troops beyond prudent limits. (4/8)
Current and former defense officials and officers say they are working to reduce heat illnesses and deaths by revising guidelines for assessing risks, updating prevention measures, refining treatment protocols and developing new gear and tech to keep service members cooler. (5/8)
Slightly more than 40% of the heat-related illnesses and deaths over the last 5 years occurred at 5 military installations according to the Defense Health Agency:
• Fort Benning in GA
• Fort Bragg in NC
• Camp Lejeune in NC
• Fort Campbell in KY
• Fort Polk in LA
Joy Craig, a retired Marine Corps warrant officer and drill instructor, says service members often don’t want to acknowledge their vulnerability to heat.
“It doesn’t matter that you’re about ready to collapse, you don’t let on. You push through it.” https://nbcnews.to/2Yc2RIb (7/8)
When Shirley Cline talks about her son’s 2016 heat-related death at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, she pauses to gather her thoughts.
“It was a death that should not have happened and the way it happened.”
Sgt. Sylvester Cline was 32 and a father of 5.
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